Kevin Roberts and the Cricket Australia Board would be counting their luck right about now.
Another World Cup campaign ended for the Blackcaps. Once again, Kane Williamson’s men had a tournament full of highs and lows.
They finished fourth in the group stages and ended up as runners up for the tournament. They won five games, lost three and had a no result in the group stages.
The Blackcaps also pulled off an amazing semi-final victory over the highly fancied Indian outfit. Unfortunately, New Zealand lost the final on a much-debated technicality – a boundary countback – to England.
New Zealand featured in five close games. The games against Bangladesh, South Africa, the West Indies, India and the final against England were all close.
New Zealand won four of those five games. The bowling was outstanding and was the best performing attack for the whole tournament.
New Zealand’s bowling attack conceded over 250 runs in only two matches for the tournament. Every team conceded over 250 runs three or more times.
The team’s overall economy rate was below five for the tournament. The Kiwi bowling also averaged below 30.
Batting wise, New Zealand was disappointing and besides Kane Williamson, only two batsmen averaged over 30.
Fielding wise, New Zealand were good. They dropped a few catches but overall, the Blackcaps fielding was good.
These players were the star performers for the Blackcaps and we list them below.
The player of the tournament. It sums up Kane’s performance throughout the tournament. He The player of the tournament.
It sums up Kane’s performance throughout the tournament. He was brilliant. He depicted amazing mental strength through the tournament saving New Zealand’s innings on over one occasion.
Every time he scored over 50, New Zealand didn’t lose a game. Operating like a surgeon, Williamson quietly went about his business.
Williamson was the only Kiwi batman to average above 40 for the tournament. The next best batting average was Ross Taylor with 38.88.
Williamson was in another league at times. His tournament stats read, nine innings, 578 runs, two 50s, two 100s, averaging 82.57.
All of this at a strike rate of 74.96. Williamson’s highest score was 148 against the West Indies at Old Trafford in Manchester.
He also took six catches and captained the side brilliantly. His calm demeanour, especially during the final, earned him worldwide praise from cricketing fans all over the world.
Williamson is already a New Zealand great, but it would not be surprising if he retires as one cricket’s greatest batsmen.
One or two years ago, Jimmy Neesham switched domestic teams. That switched resurrected the all-rounder’s career, and he had a brilliant World Cup campaign for the Blackcaps.
With the bat, he scored 258 runs, averaged 36.85 at a strike rate of 84.86. Neesham’s highest score of 97 not out came against Pakistan at Edgbaston.
He formed vital partnerships during the campaign and helped his side reach back-to-back World Cup finals.
With the ball, Neesham was outstanding, forming a vital element to the “wolf-pack.” He picked up 15 wickets, at an average of 19.46, economy rate of 5.35, at a strike rate of 21.80with best figures of 5/31 against the Afghanis at Taunton.
In the field, Neesham was good and picked up four catches including a one-handed blinder to remove Dinesh Karthik in the semi-final.
The X-factor the Blackcaps needed and boy, did he deliver. The express pacer picked up 21 wickets (second highest overall for the tournament), at an average of 19.47, an economy rate of 4.88, at a strike rate of 23.90 with best figures of 4/37 against Afghanistan at Taunton.
Ferguson picked never went wicket-less in any of the matches he played and mainly picked up wickets in the middle overs, i.e., from overs 11-40.
Whenever Kane Williamson needed a breakthrough, he, on most occasions turned to Ferguson who very rarely failed to pick up the major wicket.
What made him a wicket-taker, besides his lethal pace and execution of Yorkers and bouncers, was his execution of the slower ball.
He used his slower ball to perfection. Two wickets that indicate his brilliant execution of the slower ball were the wickets of Shimron Hetmyer in that all-time classic group game against the West Indies and Bhuvaneshwar Kumar in the tense semi-final against India.
Ferguson was outstanding throughout the tournament and will be a key part of the Blackcaps future endeavours.
Barring one game against the West Indies, Matt Henry bowled brilliantly throughout the tournament. He was difficult to play, especially during the semi-finals against India and the final against England.
Matt was instrumental in building up pressure and providing or assisting the other bowlers in picking up the vital breakthroughs for the Blackcaps.
His stats read nine matches, 14 wickets, an average of 28 at a strike rate of 34.42, economy rate of 4.87, with best figures of 4/47 against Bangladesh at the Oval.
He picked up 15 wickets, at an average of 19.46, economy rate of 5.35, at a strike rate of 21.80. His best figures of 5/31 came against the Afghanis at Taunton. In the field, Neesham was good and picked up four catches including a one-handed blinder to remove Dinesh Karthik in the semi-final.
Colin de Grandhomme and Mitchell Santner played vital roles for the team. De Grandhomme scored a vital half-century against South Africa. He also bowled a super spell in the final picking up 1/28 off his 10 overs. He picked up the vital wicket of England star batsman, Joe Root.
Santner picked up two big wickets in the semi against India and kept the run rate in check, going at 4.82. Ross Taylor played vital knocks against Bangladesh, the West Indies, and India. He had the second highest average for the Blackcaps with an average of 38.88.
Taylor played a vital role in guiding Kane Williamson in making his captaincy decisions.
The disappointing performances were from the three openers used in the tournament. Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, and Henry Nicholls all averaged under 30 and had campaigns they would rather forget.
Guptill did pull off the vital run-out of MS Dhoni in the semis. The New Zealand vice-captain, Tom Latham, had a disappointing tournament with the bat averaging under 20.
New Zealand will face Sri Lanka next month before they play the big three of world cricket in consecutive Test series. They play England at home, Australia away and India back at home for two, three and two Tests respectively